TUESDAY, Oct. 20

Minari’ Wins Top Trophies at Virginia Fest

Lee Isaac Chung’s family drama “Minari’ has won the audience award for narrative film and the ensemble cast award at the Middleburg Film Festival, presented as a four-day hybrid event.

The film follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. Starring Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Scott Haze and Will Patton, the film is inspired by Chung’s own childhood.

The audience award for best documentary film at the Virginia festival went to Byran Fogel’s “The Dissident,” which explores the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s efforts to control dissent.

Ken Burns Award Goes to ‘Hold Your Fire’ 

The Better Angels Society, the Library of Congress and the Crimson Lion/ Lavine Family Foundation have awarded the second annual Library of Congress Lavine/ Ken Burns Prize for Film to Stefan Forbes’ documentary “Hold Your Fire.”

The film will receive a $200,000 finishing grant to assist with post-production costs. Produced by Amir Soltani and Tia Wou, “Hold Your Fire” is a feature-length documentary that uncovers the untold story behind the longest hostage siege in New York Police Department history in 1973 at a Brooklyn sporting goods store, when four young Black men stealing guns for self-defense were cornered by the NYPD and a  violent gun battle ensued.

Harvey Schlossberg, an NYPD officer with a doctorate in psychology who had been tasked with finding a solution to the tragic hostage crises at Attica and the Munich Olympics, helped stave off a bloodbath and create modern hostage negotiation. Production on “Hold Your Fire” began in 2014.

‘Poisoned’ Heading for Movie Adaptation 

“Poisoned,” Jennifer Donnelly’s young adult fantasy novel is in development as a feature film as a followup to her “Stepsister,” which was launched as a film project last year.

Both projects are set with the same producers. Endeavor Content acquired the rights to the novels, partnering with the female creative producing team of Lynette Howell Taylor’s 51 Entertainment and Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories.

“Poisoned” is a reimagining of Snow White with the central character Sophie being aided by seven mysterious strangers to survive in the forest while facing a terrifying enemy. “Stepsister” is feminist retelling of Cinderella. Emma Frost has written the screenplay for that film adaption.

MONDAY Oct. 19

Longoria Starring in Story of Sci-Fi Surveillance

Eva Longoria has joined Ice Cube in an untitled science fiction movie for Universal Pictures with Patrick Aiello and Timur Bekmambetov producing.

Rich Lee will direct from a Kenneth Golde script that contains themes of privacy and surveillance. Universal plans to go into production this month on the project, which is part of their five-picture deal with Bekmambetov for projects similar to his 2014 film “Unfriended,” which utilized his Screenlife format within the world of smartphones and computer screens.

Longoria was most recently seen in “Dora and the Lost City OfGold” and “Sylvie’s Love.” She is attached to “Flamin’ Hot” for Searchlight, “Spa Day” for Sony and “24/7” for Universal, which she will also direct. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Paradigm Signs Film2Future Organization

Paradigm Talent Agency has signed a two-year agreement to be the exclusive agency partner for Film2Future, a non-profit organization building a direct pipeline into the entertainment industry for underserved, low-income youth aged 14-18.

Film2Future has built a four-year curriculum in filmmaking and content creation, offering successful placements in college and paid internships for those seeking careers in the entertainment industry. Under the partnership, the agency will offer workshops, mentorship programs and paid internships to Film2Future students.

Since 2016, over 125 students have completed Film2Future’s intensive program, and more than 50 students over the age of 18 have accepted paid internships or production positions at studios and production companies, including Shondaland, Netflix, NBC, CBS and more, working on shows like “Glow,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

Gravitas Buys ‘King of Knives’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to the holiday comedy “King of Knives” for digital release on Dec. 1, Variety has learned exclusively.

The story centers on baby boomer parents and and their millennial daughters, written by Lindsay Joy with story by Gene Pope and directed by Jon Delgado. The film stars Pope, Mel Harris, Roxi Pope and Emily Bennett.

The film won best narrative feature film at the Williamsburg International Film & Music Competition and top narrative feature at the International Independent Film Awards. Brendan M. Gallagher of Gravitas negotiated the deal with Evan Krauss of Eisner LLP on behalf of Pope III Enterprises.